Speaking of Gifts….

1 Year Old_S0A9334b

THEN: Kira at 1 year, the sweetest baby!!     NOW: A lovely woman!

Of all the gifts any person could ever receive, my new baby girl was the cream of the crop. And, Kira Braun, you still are! You mean the world to me.

No mother could be prouder of the accomplishments on your list, but your dedication to and love of singing take the prize for hard work, persistence, and leaps and bounds in developing your voice, your repertoire, and experience.

Beautiful CDs, recitals and concerts, many operatic appearances in a very short space of time, all the while working long hours as a superbly accomplished and sought-after career woman: you put me and others in awe!!

Very few people would have the courage to pursue the love of a life-time when you committed to the decision to study and develop the talent you always had, and yearned to use. But you’ve done it!! And done it WELL!!

Here is Kira’s website:


Visit Kira on Facebook:






Real Santa Claus carrying big bag full of gifts, isolated on whi

No matter what your faith, your background, your comfort zone, I just want to say please enjoy the coming weeks of Christmastime with love and sharing and happiness.

The religious part no longer comes into it for me, but the pleasure of an extra hug, a coffee with a friend that I don’t see often enough, an unexpected visit, and cards and letters from those once-a-year relatives in faraway places, just seems to take over and carry me along.

May the simple things be shared and friendships be strengthened for each of you in these next weeks.

Please be safe in your partying and driving above all. Don’t jeopardize innocent lives, including possibly your own, by drinking and driving.  Nobody is okay to do that! Use the formula ‘one drink=no driving’, the only correct math for this problem.

With all good thoughts for 2016 and years to come, let’s live together as one family.



Our Wee Jimmy 2014 (K)

Remember Wee Jimmy?  He was our beloved budgie for 12 wonderful years.

He was never a great flyer, having spent the first year of his life in a cage with his wings clipped. But during that year he learned to imitate another bird, and took its strange call as his own. That Chee-kwa was his alone, and we always knew he was okay if we heard it throughout the day. He liked to emphasize it with wise-looking head nods.

Jimmy has been really healthy, but had bouts of the droops, which we treated with drops of canola oil given on the end of a toothpick, tummy rubs, followed by a few drops of water laced with birdie vitamins. Then we would put him in the cage with a heat lamp and keep him warm. It never failed to bring him back and when the Chee-kwa echoed again, we knew he had him back.

Flying was quite another matter. We called him Jumbo behind his back, his wings made lots of noise, and his speed wasn’t great. He managed, but never became the kind of bird that flies all around and into every room, exploring all the landing places just for fun.

No, if he got into another room accidentally he would crash-land and joyfully hop onto a perch we kept handy just for that purpose.

So two Saturdays ago, when he flew over my head and disappeared into the kitchen without coming back out, and didn’t make a sound either, alarm bells went off in my head. He always chirped loudly until we found him but there wasn’t a peep.

I found him on the floor at the bottom of the wall just inches from the door he missed, having hit the wall head first.  His wings were spread and he was totally still.  He didn’t struggle when I picked him up.

I sat down with him nestled on my chest, and stroked his forehead. In moments he was gone, and I realized that his neck was broken.

The other FRIEND is the kind to treasure if you are lucky enough to have one like him. He’s my flute partner in the band, Rob. I’ve known him for a lot of years and we enjoy playing flute duets when we can find the time.

Last fall when our tiny green Budgie, Kookabird, died, Rob and I walked into the woods on the property he and his wife live on just outside the city, and buried that little birdie, marking the spot with a stone.

Now that spot has been named the West St Catharines Budgerigar Cemetery, and Wee Jimmy is resting beside his former tiny cage-mate.  Rob even took pictures! And put down a flat stone to mark the spot!!  THANKS, to BOTH of these WONDERFUL FRIENDS!!  🙂

Budgerigar Cemetery, RIP Jimmy and Kookabird.JPG