My husband cracks me up. He doesn’t tell a lot of jokes, not in the conventional sense anyway (“Did you hear the one about…”), but his silliness quotient is pretty high. In fact, he can be a total dork… and I love it.
Having a good sense of humor is one of the most important traits I looked for in anyone I’m going to spend time with, let alone live with. If someone can laugh at themselves and find the humor in less-than-humorous situations, it is a sign of self-confidence and flexibility. Who wants to hang out with anyone who needs to maintain a polished image or present their best self at all times? People who generally feel good about themselves and aren’t too self-conscious are usually confident enough to be silly. And being silly is when life gets fun.
I love our inside jokes… some that date back to the first days of our relationship. I love how just one word or look can instantly recall a funny story that resides in both of our memories. I love how we riff off of each other when one of us starts a silly streak, and the other picks it up, adds to it, and then sends it back for more. I love how we can laugh at ourselves and – gently – laugh at each other, confident that we are safe in each other’s heart.
We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in traditional “Hallmark Holiday” ways; we don’t go out to dinner nor do we give each other gifts of flowers or chocolates. In fact, we spend Valentine’s Day pretty much like any other day… but that’s OK. As long as our day contains a fair amount of fun and a good dose of silliness, I have all the hearts and romance I need.
I am so grateful to my husband for bringing his special brand of joy and laughter into our marriage. I wouldn’t trade my funny valentine for any other.
First we hear a frenzied screeching in the distance. As the noise gets closer, it is more distinguishable as the riotous squawking of birds. Then, we see them. Sometimes they fly in a small group of 6 or 8, but most of the time, they are in flocks of 30 or more. They often fly together in an unorganized mass, then split apart in a raucous burst of energy because… whatever. Whether they arrive in a small group or a large one, it’s hard to ignore when a flock of urbanized parrots invades our neighborhood.
There are several theories as to why these birds, whose natural habitat are the jungles of Mexico, and Central and South America, now call coastal Southern California their home. Some say that they—or their ancestors—were probably caged birds released into the wild either accidentally or on purpose. Some say that the changing climate and decimated tropical forests are the reason. Ironically parrot species that are threatened or endangered in their native environment are flourishing here because our ubiquitous palms and backyard fruit trees provide the food and nesting habitat they need.
These naturalized parrots include blue-crowned conures, lilac-crowned Amazons, cherry-headed conures, mitred conures, red-crowned Amazons, and yellow-headed Amazons. I’m not sure which of the dozen or so naturalized parrot species frequents our neighborhood, but they are wonderfully colorful, incredibly loud, and a delight to behold.
Not everyone is as charmed as I am with the urbanized parrots – they have been known to decimate the flowers or fruits growing on ornamental trees—but I am so grateful for their presence. They are exotic, unpredictable, exuberant, and, when I hear them coming, it’s almost impossible not smile at their unbridled joy.