Friday, November 30, 2007

The art of the tickle-rub

Not sure if any of you know what I mean when I say the word 'tickle-rub'. Don't really think it's even a word... except in my own little private dictionary, and I wonder how many of you have ever had one of these 'tickle-rubs'??

As a young girl, my mom used to rub my arms, my face and hair. I loved it. It would relax me and help me sleep. (I still ask for these rubs when I see her, and I must say, she still gives the best tickle-rub!! Can't wait to have her rub my hair when I visit California) As a got older, I'd enlist my younger sister to do this for me. Usually w/ the assurance that I'd tickle-rub her as well. Most nights I'd make her go first... insisting that she rub my arms for what seemed like hours (to her), then I'd fall asleep and she'd never get her share.... aaaahhhh, those were the days! ;) But lemme tell ya, she has NEVER let me forget this. I think she's reminded me of this, say.... 500 times!

For any of you out there that don't know what this 'tickle-rub' is... let me explain. It's a light dance of the fingers across the skin, sort of in a rubbing type motion, but they glide over your skin instead of rub and gives a wonderful sensation that is both relaxing and intoxicating. It can also cause your skin to itch if not done in the proper way.

I thought my family was the only ones doing this until I was talking to a lady at work and telling her all about it, whereas she informed me that as a child, her mother had been tickled-rubbed to sleep by the housemaids while living in South America. They'd fan her mother to sleep w/ huge feather fans, while another would tickle-rub her skin until she drifted to sleep. Now... I don't know about you, but that, to me, sounds like the ultimate way to be relaxed.... makes me a bit relaxed just to think about it. Imagine being fanned to sleep while another person rubbed your arm, hair.... aaaaahhhhhhhh.


I've now enlisted Hashim to tickle-rub me, and he does it until I fall asleep.... he's not much for it but will occasionally allow me to tickle-rub his arm, then complaining (because it does feel wonderful) that I don't do it enough! HA!!!! He only has to ask!! Well, unless I'm sleepy and then I have to have it, for it seems the only method to truly send me into sleep heaven.

but... you know, I haven't had a tickle-rub since having the baby, and I'm missing them!! I've tried a couple of times to inch over towards him to let him tickle-rub my face and hair, but wouldn't you know it, the baby wakes up and my heaven escapes me! :)

My sister has enlisted her daughter in the tickle-rub, saying she's the best... matter of fact, Katelyn wakes up in the middle of the night, if she's sleeping w/ her mother, and will rub her for long stretches of time. She slept with me and Hashim when we visited the last time, but I got no tickle rubs. I waited, but nothing. Maybe this time.... I can only hope. ;)

And wouldn't ya know... I'm hoping that Naief will follow in the tickle-rub footsteps... matter of fact, I'm making it a tradition in our family. :) I'm training him from now. Tonight, when he woke for a feeding, his little hand stretched out and I started rubbing it ever so lightly (as I've also done in the past), and what did he do? He started rubbing my arm ever so gently and rubbing my hand and fingers... it's soooo sweet and made me think of our tickle-rubs when we were younger. It's moments like these that make my heart soar... and make me glad to be next to him at night. And NO, not just for the tickle-rub... but because he's so sweet, and it's so sweet when he starts to rub my arm!!!

If he were sleeping in his crib, I wouldn't have these experiences... and for as bad as it can be w/ sleep deprivation and such, I still feel it's worth it.

Now, in thinking about it... I think the tickle-rub started w/ my mother. She loved having her hair rubbed/combed... so maybe it started w/ her and she passed it down to us.

Are there any other tickle-rubbers out there???

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What to do, what to do?!!

What pretty blue eyes on this baby, huh?!! This picture makes me think of your God Daughter, Olivia.

I chose this pic because Naief has started to bite. At first it started as a teething thing. I thought it would pass, but it's actually gotten worse. It started a couple of months back with him getting ahold of my clothes and pulling back on them, but now it's full fledged biting.

He's not biting anyone else or anything... it's not like that, it's just momma. He tried to bite daddy's leg the other night, but usually it's when I'm holding him and he's frustrated, excited or agitated. The other night he almost drew blood.

They say not to pull back when it happens, but it's really hard. Your natural reflex is to pull away from it, but lemme tell ya... it hurts! He's gotten ahold of my index finger a couple of times - yes, it's my fault for putting it in his mouth - and the last time I thought he broke the skin.. but he didn't.

I think the problem is that I laughed the first time and thought it was cute. Since then, he thinks it's a game. Or, until recently.

A few weeks ago I tried biting him back. Not hard or anything, but just to show him that it hurts. He cried and it broke my heart. So I only tried that twice. Then I got upset and would hold him away from me, looking right in his eyes and told him sternly, "no biting mommy". A few times he cried. After telling my friend, Puppy, about it, she gave me an idea. She was a biter as a little girl and her mother used to always tell her, "no biting, give me kisses" and it seemed to work. So over the last few days, I've been doing that. It seems to work for the most part.

Altho today he's been biting a little more than usual. Earlier today, he got ahold of me and I calmly and gently said, "no biting love, give me kisses" and then I kissed him. Boy, he watches my eyes like a hawk! He watches my every emotion... that's why I'm staying very calm w/ him. It's hard though... especially when he gets you really bad. But I've noticed that if I get upset, he'll go right back to get me again.

So, do you any of you seasoned mothers or parents out there have any good advice for me? I don't want Naief getting bigger and biting other children. I hope that this is only a phase that he'll grow out of .... we shall see.


Some really great news. Me and Naief will be traveling to the States around Dec. 10th to visit my family. I'm soooo excited, but a little nervous. I'm gonna get some meds from the dr. to help Naief sleep, but he's not good about sitting in one place for a long time, which makes me a bit anxious at the thought of traveling for so many hours and how he'll do, and what I'll entertain him with... I guess I'll have to take lots of little toys, books and such.

This trip will be different for me. I'm a mother now. Before, me and my younger sis have had our arguments.... sometimes even to the point that we could strangle each other... but I think w/ my being a new mother and her working full time, things will be different. She loves babies and is dying to meet Naief and my mom.. well, she didn't think I'd ever have a baby. I can't wait for her to meet him. Brings tears to my eyes just to think that I'll be there in a couple of weeks!


Hmmmm... what else. Well, one of our cats got out and is gone. I realized it Sunday morning and panicked. He was a yellow tabby cat, and so incredibly sweet. His name was/is Wilson. We got him w/ his two sisters about 2 yrs ago, if that long, and they're all so loving and gentle. I just can't believe he's gone. I've called for him... went out today w/ the baby and hoped that I'd see him, but nothing.

I don't even know when he got out or how. The woman who works for us sometimes lets the outside cats in and she's let our cats out a couple of times, and she's also left windows open... so maybe he got out from an open window. He also looks just like the outside cat, Tigger, so maybe she put Wilson out by mistake. I don't know. I'm worried and have come to conclusion that he won't be coming home. He knew nothing of the outdoors really. Nothing of cars and staying safe... and nothing of the wild dogs that roam our neighborhood at night.

Last weekend I heard the dogs outside barking like crazy and figured it was a cat they were after... maybe it was Wilson.

I just hope, if he's alive, he finds his way home. I really hope to see him again. He was such a sweet boy.. even tho he'd pee on things he wasn't supposed to... I still really loved him. It makes me sad.

I swear... I have 8 more little tragedies to live thru.... 10 if you count the outside cats.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sexual Abuse/Molestation in Bahrain

I've been waiting to write this blog entry... hoping that someone else would beat me to the punch, but as of yet, I've not read anything about what's happening in this country.

Today I read on Ammaro's blog about a guy in Berlin or someplace in Germany that was given a job at a kindergarten after being sentenced for sexually molesting children, and what did this guy do??? You got it... he turned around and abused two children at this school. Who would have thunk it.... imagine... he's a predator and the best job for him is at a school. Oh but wait... he was a janitor.... how could a janitor sexually abuse children?!!!!

So... the story goes.

Well... I guess about a month ago, I read in the GDN about how some Bahraini guy had sexually molested a child and been given 5 yrs for the offense. But after judges reviewed his case, it was lowered to one year because they felt like he was suffering from a mental problem. Poor guy... must be terrible being a victim of such mental problems!

I know what can fix that for 'em tho... let's castrate the guy... and hey, maybe Bahrain should take a lead from Saudi and do it in a public place for all to see. That might fix his little problem and keep him away from other children... you think?!!

I'm appalled at this ruling. I don't know how anyone in their right mind could lower the sentence of such an animal. Here he's damaged a child and that child will have the scar for the rest of their life - in one form or another - but he's given leniency by the judge and his sentence is lowered to one year. ONE FREAKIN YEAR!!!!!!!

But ppl who sale drugs are given 10 yrs in prison and then deported. Where's the logic in that? Who the hell cares about drugs and ppl who are using when you have pedophiles running loose???? And no one gives a damn about it!

Here you have ppl out protesting almost every weekend about something... either not having jobs, about America, about Israel, about Lebanon... but NO ONE protests about these ppl - the child molesters/rapists/pedophiles walking the streets! And why the hell not???? Why doesn't anyone give a damn about this?

Here the child will live w/ this for the rest of their lives. They'll suffer post traumatic stress syndrome from it off and on for years to come, if not all of their lives, live in fear and shame, probably will be treated as a leper from ppl in their community - since the victim is probably blamed in this country or seen as someone who asked for it - but the man who committed this crime is walking free... only to strike again, I would bet my life on.

I get so sick when I read about this crap in the paper... and you have ppl in high powered positions not giving a damn.... usually caring more about getting their pics in the paper for giving money away to this charity or that organization.... but when I sit back and think about it, I really start to wonder why there isn't someone standing up for these children? Where is their voice? Where are their parents???? Why in the hell don't they care? I guess it's swept under the carpet like everything else.... and praying that no one finds out that it was their child who was raped/molested....

instead of getting out there and doing something about it. Why aren't these pedophiles black listed? Why aren't their laws to keep these ppl in jail? Why aren't they shamed at every street corner? Why don't ppl know where they live to protect their children???

It's sad... really sad. I wonder what will happen when and if children ever start disappearing here... oh but wait... that's already happened and what came of it?!! What about when and if children start being killed by such criminals... all of them out to molest/rape a child and then it gets outta hand and they kill the child... or their whole intent was to kill the child. If you don't think it'll happen one day, you are blinded by your rose colored glasses or you need to pull your head outta your ass and get a freakin clue as to where this country is going UNLESS ppl do something about this!

Wake up ppl!!!!! There are child molesters roaming your streets... and their hurting your children!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Planet Earth

Wow... has anyone seen this Discovery Channel/BBC documentary/series that's being shown or was shown in the U.S.??? It's phenomenal!!! I've never seen this type of coverage before... and if you like animals and seeing the earth/world in the most brilliant of ways, you should definitely watch this show.

We've been watching it for the last few nights and I'm in complete awe. I sit and watch it, and, probably to the disbelief of my hubby, I don't make a sound.

It took 5 years for them to get all the footage for this and they traveled the world... they have footage of animals that no human has ever seen before. We watched the snow leopard make a kill last night... it was incredible. This has never been filmed before. The female leopard was so beautiful. Her feet and tail were huge. Both help her to keep her balance while walking/running on the side of the mountain and while chasing prey.

I will add, the one thing about "making the kill" is that they don't show all the blood and gore like many other animal programs. Even though, you stay on the edge of your seat because the footage is breathtaking.

I highly recommend this program and would love to hear from anyone that's been watching it. I saw it previewed on Oprah. She loves it and now I can see why. If anyone saw her show where she's talking about this program... well, everything she said is right on.

I used to watch Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom when I was young, and I watch the Animal Planet all the time, but neither of these compare to this program. Truly, it's the most amazing footage I've ever seen in my life. And... the added benefit is that it teaches you about the planet, and you travel the globe... so you get in some geography... which never hurt anyone. :)

If you wanna check out the info on this program, go here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Do you tip?

What is it w/ tipping in this country? Most restaurants that you go to have a service charge included, but I doubt seriously if the waiters and waitresses are seeing any of that money. So, where does that leave a person when it comes to giving a tip?

Do most ppl not tip in restaurants? How about your hair dresser? What about at hotels?

I know that my husband doesn't like to tip in most cases. Coming from the States where tipping is required, I usually cringe when he refuses to leave anything after a good meal.

In many restaurants in the States, you'll have the wait staff actually come after you if you don't leave a tip. I've known ppl to scream at their customers for not giving at least 15%, and you'd never think of not tipping your hairdresser, unless they were the owner of the salon, but, even still, I've always felt weird about not tipping - even if they're the owner.

My hair stylist, Kristin, worked at a place in Dallas; she wasn't the owner, but she rented out the space she had in the place, which is considered to be pretty much the same. I spent over $100 most times - if I dyed my hair - and I always left a tip. Thankfully those hair days are over and I'm not paying anywhere near that now, but I still feel odd if I leave and don't tip. I even feel bad if I don't tip the shampoo girl... seeing that she gives fabulous scalp massages every time she puts the conditioner on my hair. I'd actually love to hire someone like that to be my personal scalp masseuse.

Now... let's say you do tip... do you tip a standard percentage or just whatever you feel like? In most places back home, if you leave anything under 20%, you're considered stingy. I've known ppl to leave a few cents, and I mean pennies, after a meal.. but the service was terrible and the place wasn't a big place or anything... but even still, I think I'd rather leave nothing than leave a few pennies.

A few restaurants that we go to on a regular basis even charges a service charge if we pick up the meal and go, which I think is strange and not really fair. Hashim has complained and one place close to us doesn't do it anymore, but if we sit down inside, we get the charge. I don't agree w/ service charges. I can understand if you have a huge party, but if it's only you and your husband, why the service charge?

And w/ the rise in food prices at restaurants after the Ramadan holiday, I'm starting to think like my husband... maybe it's better to save that extra cash. I guess that's why us Americans are always hard up for cash... we're too busy tipping all of our money away!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sick of being sick....

One of my blog buddies (Christopher aka Kissyfur aka The Diary of a Lost Boy) recently posted on my Back in Time post and asked if I was sad... I guess I am sad, in a way. Why is it that gay guys always know how to read me?!! Even in the past, they've always known.. it's like they can see right into my soul, and he's no different. Even when I try to hide it... you always know my friend.

So... this is it... or part of it... actually most of it... ;)

Naief has been sick for the last 5 months, off and on, and I feel exhausted physically, emotionally and mentally.

I promised to myself and Hashim that I wouldn't take him to my MILs school again after he got well this past time, but what did I do??? Because everyone was asking me why I don't bring him and such, and not wanting to seem like a bitch - I allowed the woman who works for us to take him there for short periods of time a couple of days last week - thinking that the short periods of time would keep him from catching anything, and it allowed me time to get a few things done, walk on the treadmill, etc. But as my mother pointed out, it's not going there that will make him ill... it's the germs floating around in the air that I need to worry about and the toys... since he wants to put everything into his mouth, and she was right. (I wish my mom was here to give me motherly advice all the time!! or at least not so far away... which is another reason for my sadness, but anyway...)

Needless to say, he got sick again. One of his cousins was deathly sick as well as the housemaid that watches him, and since his mother sends him to the school come hell or high water, every child catches what her child has, and Naief was no different.... and he's been super sick for the last 4 days.

This time it's the worst cold he's had. He has an upper respiratory infection and is having a hard time shaking the fever that is accompanying it... altho today, he seems much better. He can actually breathe outta his nose and he slept thru the night last night, which gave both of us much needed rest.

So... all of this has been taking a major toll on me. Today has been the first day that he's slept/napped w/out insisting on my holding him... and hasn't cried for most of the day... and I feel so thankful.

It's so difficult to see him sick. I can hardly take him having a hard time breathing and hearing him cough... it's tough. The smallest of things will upset him and if I get moody, well... he can feel it and it upsets him, and then it upsets me, so it's like a vicious circle that won't stop revolving around and around and around.

Yesterday (I think it was yesterday), he was downstairs in the kitchen w/ me and I was making dinner. He was on the floor crawling around, playing w/ his toys and then all of a sudden he burst out crying. I ran over to him and he was face down on the tile. My heart leaped... let me tell ya. I picked him up and got a tissue to wipe his eyes and mouth and when I did, there was blood. I looked down at him and there was blood coming from his mouth, which terrified me. All I could think is that he knocked a tooth loose or busted his lip or something.

Thankfully I'm really good at handling extremely stressful situations, so I was able to act fast.

I wiped the blood from his mouth and tried to look in his mouth but he was having nothing of it. I got out the water and gave him a big drink from it - knowing that the cold will help to slow down the blood flow, and then I put him back on my legs and asked to look in his mouth. Usually he won't allow it, but he did (obviously seeing the seriousness in my eyes), and there was blood between his two front teeth, so I took the tissue and had him bite on it and then looked again. I checked his teeth to make sure they weren't loose and then looked at his lips and from what I can tell, it was coming from the little piece of tissue (can't remember what it's called) that connects the lip to the gums...

After a few minutes, it stopped bleeding and he was fine, but my heart wasn't for a while.

Now I find that I'm afraid to even let him crawl around on the floor... but I know things will happen and he's going to get hurt, it's a part of life... but it's hard to see your baby bleeding. Makes me feel like a bad mother.

So... w/ this happening, my falling last week w/ him in my arms and then w/ him being sick again... I have felt like I'm doing something wrong and it's taking the life from me, for the most part or has when I let it...

I've started walking w/ him in the mornings and it seems to be helping both of us. Figuring the sun and fresh air will do him and mommy good, and since the weather is getting much cooler, I'm out trying to take full advantage of it, and think I'll continue doing it most mornings. Since he's waking up at 5:30 or 6 every morning... it gives both of us plenty of time to do things like this. And... it's helping my mood, so that's a plus, and he seems better today, so that's another plus.

On a lighter and more positive note, he has stopped crying in his highchair and is now eating w/out a problem... I think it was a phase and working him back into the routine of eating there, and he has also stopped crying in his stroller. We're able to walk for more than 40 mins without him having a problem... YAH!!! And he has started cruising along furniture or is starting to go there - taking little baby steps in that direction. He also participates in peek a boo and will slap me five... it's sooo cute!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Art of Massage

What is it about massage that can either relax your whole mind and body or send you over the edge because it is so incredibly painful? Do you enjoy massage? Do you like quiet places with relaxing music and oils that smell of lavender? Or do you prefer to have a quickie at one of those places set up at the mall where you pay $10 to $15 for a quick back massage?

Me.... well, I prefer soft music, smell good candles and wonderful oils massaged deep into the tissues of my body, but it's been a long time since I had such a massage... until Thursday evening.

My back has been hurting in a bad way since I had the baby. I've read info on it and many ppl say that it's from the spinal tap, but I'm not sure because I had the pain while I was pregnant. And since having the baby, I seem to wake up w/ new pain most every day... yeah, I know, it's a part of getting older, but I hate to think about it like that, so instead, I got the telephone number of the massage therapist my MIL uses and called her up. I also fell last week while going up the stairs w/ Naief in my arms - he wasn't hurt but I was. My back and shoulder area was starting to feel as though I'd been in a bad car accident... obviously I was holding on to him for dear life to protect him... and because of this, I needed some relief. And for as good as Hashim is w/ massaging my back when I ask him, he couldn't relieve this pain.

Anyway... this woman is Thai, I found out, and was very nice on the phone, so I made an appt. for 4:30 that afternoon. Now... the last time I had a Thai massage was probably 3 1/2 yrs ago. I went to one of these Salon in the Box places (salons are on every street corner in these parts) and after laying on the table and having this Thai girl drill her fingers into my back for almost an hour, I thought I'd never have another Thai massage. I might add that after having that first massage, I was sore for a good 3 or 4 days. It felt like she was ripping my body apart... no kidding.

So, knowing that a Thai woman was coming was a bit scary for me, but my MIL swears by her... so what the hell, right?!

I very much believe in setting a mood, especially for massage. This is the first time for having a massage at home, so I took every care to make it perfect for who else??? ME!!! :)

Since I'd be on the floor, me and Hashim moved the coffee table so I could at least lay on the thick carpet in that room. I also put down two more quilts, got a sheet, set up the CD player w/ my Relaxing Massage CD, got out the essential oil, lit a nice candle, turned on the a/c and then waited for her to arrive. I guess about 10 minutes later, she rings the doorbell.

She's a small, heavy set woman. Very pleasant and wanted to get right to work. At first, when she started the massage, I thought it was going to be just like before because she was rough. But as time passed, I was taken away to a wonderful place.... and it's been a long time since being able to feel so fabulous from a massage.

This woman's hands were incredible, and there was something about her ability - and I say this word with seriousness in my thoughts, because she was able to find the exact location of my pain when I told her the general vicinity of it. It was as though she had a little radar system built in her hands - I kid you not. The first time I experienced it was with the pain by my right shoulder blade. Since I was holding the baby w/ my right arm when I fell, it was especially painful.

I pointed to the place - more or less, and what did she do? She took her fingers and went to the area and then used her finger tips to do this stitching type of thing on the area and w/ this method, she zeroed in to exactly where the pain was and stopped right on it. It was like her fingers guided her to the precise place of the pain. After stopping, she'd do some type of massage right on the area. It would kill at first but after about 3 or so minutes of intense work in the area, the pain would lift. Then she'd take this stone she had and rub it on the area. It was really cold and would immediately relax the area. aaaahhhhh... I get joy just thinking about it, which tells me it's time for another!! :)

Anyway, the whole massage worked this way. I showed her the area of the pain in my lower back and hip area, and she did the same stitching thing w/ her fingers (don't know how else to explain what she was doing) and within a few seconds would find the exact location of the pain. She'd rub a deep heat type of stuff on it and oil, do her magic fingers and the pain would go.

Now, the pain in my lower back will take a while. Seeing the pain is so severe, she couldn't get it to go away immediately, which I completely understand. But... I will say this, since having the massage on Thurs., I haven't had the pain in my lower back like before. Matter of fact, when I get up from a sitting position, I can actually stand straight. Before, I'd have to stay bent for a bit before I could straighten up... but not now. The pain in my hip is gone as well.... and my shoulder blade hasn't hurt at all.

I used to go to a massage therapist once a week and sometimes more after I totalled my RX-7 years ago, and this girl was good, but she was never able to take away pain like this woman. I told Hashim and wondered if she knew some type of ancient techniques or something. I do think these Asian ppl have abilities... and I think she's one of them. Yeah... go ahead and think me silly, but it's the truth. This finger stitching thing she did or whatever you wanna call it was incredible. How she was able to move her fingers over my skin and find the exact area of the pain... well, I'll never know, but the one thing I do know is that this massage was fabulously wonderful and I hope to have many, many more in the future!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Back in Time Tag

I've been tagged by Olivia to write about going back in time (The Age That I Wish to go Back To)... and choosing a time/age I'd like to go back to hasn't been easy... so I've decided not to choose a day to go back to, but stay in the present.

I think that right now, the way life is for me, Hashim and the baby, it's the best time in my life. My childhood was filled with many unhappy things, leaving a lot of unhappy memories, so I think it best to stay happy... wouldn't you agree?!!

Not that there weren't happy things in my life, but nothing really compares to now when I sit back and think long and hard about my life. I loved growing up in Indiana... loved going to my cousins for the summers, helping my mom in the garden, living on a farm for a lot of my life, living in California and Texas... but, even w/ this, I still cherish today more than anything.

The Age That I Wish To Go Back To:

My answer to this is Here and Now. Sorry for being such a spoil sport Olivia, but having given this plenty of thought, I must say that this time is the best for me. I have happy memories from long ago, in my 20s and from when I was a young girl, but there aren't any that compare to right now.... :)

I think you all know why I choose now... if you don't, then I must add that it's because of Naief and how my life has changed since having him. I must say that I've never felt love like I feel it now. He gives my life such meaning. He brings happiness to every day... even when he's being naughty!! ;)

I tag:

1. Jac from A Window to My Soul
2. Gazza from Sefton Taxis
3. Jane from Lost in America
4. Munther or Khalid from The Drivel of Two Bahrainis
5. Hashim (you have to do this one dear!!) from Hashim's Studio

Puppy, I wanted to tag you but then remembered that your blog is private.... :)

ok... again, sorry for not being more fun, but in all honesty, my childhood, teenage years, 20s and my 30s just don't compare to now. I hope that as he gets older, I have the chance to remember times when there was a lot of happiness in my life... I hope that thru him I will be able to remember good things....

Thursday, November 01, 2007

We set him free

Today we set Henry free. I love this bird and will miss him dearly.

He's a large parakeet that we bought, along w/ his partner Fonda, back some 2 1/2 yrs ago. The girl that was working for us let Fonda go about 1 1/2 yrs ago (I blogged about the whole thing if you're interested a while back), and ever since then, Henry just hasn't been the same. There was a sadness in his eyes and for anyone that's been reading my blog for any length of time knows that I was really worried about him in the beginning - after she was let out - because he really loved her.

It's been since then that I've wanted to set him free, but had major doubts about it... for fear he wouldn't be able to fly, the stray cats would kill him or he'd die of hunger. I have no idea how long he was a caged bird before we got him, so I had no idea what he was capable of. I know Fonda either flew off or was killed. I've thought, on several occasions, that I've heard her outside and thought I even saw her once in the tree across the street, but I'm not sure. I know on those occasions Henry went crazy calling to that bird... so I do hope it was Fonda.

It all happened this morning. Me and Naief were downstairs - he was in his walker and I had just picked him up when I looked out the back door and saw about 3 birds standing on the bird's cages. We have them outside now since the weather has gotten so nice. Seeing that I had just fed the birds, I sorta freaked out in thinking that they had gotten out somehow... but then I realized that these were wild birds that came down to have a look. Well, all of our birds went crazy w/ excitement, especially Henry.

It was at this moment that I decided that Henry could survive if these birds were surviving and I wanted to let him go. Hashim had just run out to get some Panadol for me and diapers for the baby, so he saw all the parakeets on the cage outside. Before he left for work, he opened Henry's cage door.

I stood inside waiting to see what was going to happen. It wasn't but two or three minutes and Henry was climbing outta of his cage. He stretched his wings, flapped them like crazy and took off... but he didn't go far... only down to the tile. I freaked. Tigger, the outside cat, was out there and I knew if I didn't get out there fast, he'd kill Henry.

Here comes Tigger and he makes an instant leap towards Henry.

I ran out the door and yelled at Tigger to go away. Henry flew over to the shelves we have outside - onto the bottom shelf - and stood there. Tigger came around the back and again I had to scream to make him leave. I knew that if I didn't get Henry up off the ground, he'd get killed for sure. Henry flew over to where the cages are and sat there. I immediately went over there, leaned down and put my arm for him. Shockingly, Henry climbed onto my arm and I lifted him up to the cage. That's the first time that he's ever let me pick him up... we used to let him and Fonda fly around our TV room when we had both of them and he'd never come to me.

Well... he was back onto the top of his cage. I picked up Naief and stood outside, sweet talking him and trying to get him to go back inside. There were a couple of times that I thought for sure that he was going to, but he didn't. So I took Naief inside and stood at the door in hopes that he'd go inside his cage. But what did he do???

He flew off in the direction of the empty parking lot next to our house. I ran into the other room, threw on another top, grabbed a big towel and ran outside. I knew I'd have to throw the towel over Henry to get him back inside. But when I got out there, he was nowhere to be found. I looked under every car, up to the apts but there was nothing. I didn't even hear him.

So... I went back to the house, stood by the door and called out to him. Still nothing. After feeding Naief, I heard a call that sounded just like Henry. Me and Naief go out and after making our way to the front of the house to look in all the trees and to make sure he didn't land in the front yard, I look in the trees in the front of the house next to us and then walk back around to the side of the house. It was at this point that I saw Henry up in the tree by my FILs house - the tree right in front of our house.

I called to him and he squawked several times but wouldn't come.

I gave the baby to Salumi and asked her to hold him and after opening the garage door, I called to him - hoping he'd come back down to the cage. As I stood there and talked to him, he moved over on the branch he was perched on and then flew right down in front of me, as if to say goodbye, and then off towards the apts down from us, and he was gone. That was the last I saw of him.

I started crying from a rush of emotions. I was so happy to see him flying, happy that he wasn't afraid and happy that he was free, but I was sad too because I love him so much and am terribly sad to see him go....

Well... this afternoon at around 4, I went outside because I thought I heard him. For any of you wondering, he's a different type of parakeet than the others and has a different call... so I knew when I heard it that it was him. I went out to the front yard, looked up in the trees across the street, up to the apts and then started walking around the house and there he was. He was in the tree across the street.

I called to him and he called back to me. Henry can talk... he can say things like "good boy", "hey Oprah", "pretty bird" and make cat sounds.... so another fear is that someone will hear him and he'll be caught and put back into the bird market here... but I really hope not.

Anyway... after standing out there and talking to him for a bit, I went to get Hashim. He came out and saw him and we both smiled. It was if Henry had come to show me that he's a big boy and can fly....

Hashim went to get a ladder and put some food on top of the neighbor's garage that backs up to our house - it's high up and I don't think any cats will get up there. We also put some water. When I looked out our bathroom window this afternoon, the big dried red pepper that I put on the food was gone... maybe the wind took it, but I hope not.

Henry flew off again and is perching some place for the night. Tomorrow I hope he finds some friends and is able to fly off w/ others like him or some of these smaller parakeets - if they'll accept him. He's a sweet boy. He never tried to bite me and would take food right from my fingers.... and there was a time that he'd talk/mumble in this low voice like he was speaking to me.... I'll never forget him.

I hope he stays free for the rest of his life and lives a happy life. Today in the tree he was preening his feathers, stretching out his wings and seemed so happy. I'm really glad I got to see that..... and I'm glad he came back to say hello. Maybe, if I'm lucky, he'll find a mate and stay in this area.

Farewell Henry...