Dear Kin 1

October 31, 2011
Dear Kin,

I am sorry that I have not been in touch for a long time. I had several illnesses in a row, but now I am feeling just fine, and hope you are too.

I know that these cards will get to you late, because I have been moving. Hope you had a FUN Halloween!

Do you know where Oakland, California is? It is on the San Francisco Bay, across the bay from San Francisco. You would have fun riding the public transit system here. It is called BART, which stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit.

I am only a few miles from the University of California at Berkeley. I hope you are thinking about going to college. You are both way smart enough! I live here now.

To get to San Francisco from Oakland on BART, the train goes UNDERNEATH the bay. You wouldn’t know it unless someone told you ahead of time, but it’s fun to think about being under a hundred feet of ocean while I come and go from San Francisco.

I have two parakeets, Samba and Tango. They are lots of fun to watch. Now I know where the phrase “birdbrain” comes from. When they play, they seem to move from perch to perch for no reason that I can see. But they never seem unhappy with the results. If you watch birds outside, you may see some of the same kinds of behaviors.

Parakeets are also known as “budgies.” It’s short for budgerigar, which is their name in aborigine Australian. I like budgies better. It’s a cute word to fit a cute bird. Anyway, who knows what parakeet means? Does it mean a sort-of-keet? Like paramedic means sort-of-doctor?

Some people think that birds are boring pets. That’s because if you just have just one, he hasn’t much to do but sit there and wait for you to walk by the cage. Now that I have two birds, I would never have one, just by itself. They are “flock” animals, and need companionship.

The boys enjoy singing along to the radio, and chatter when they hear human voices. They make it plain to me that they do not like a certain song by squawking. Otherwise they have lovely voices and aren’t very loud at all.

Did you know that budgies can talk? Go look on YouTube if you aren’t quite sure that I am telling the truth.

Budgies do not have much of a sense of smell. So, how do they tell if their food is good, you might wonder? Well, they have excellent eyesight, even seeing into the ultraviolet range. They can see whether their food is spoiled by looking at it. They can also tell if another parakeet is healthy because healthy parakeets are fluorescent! I want to get a “black light” so I can see that. Ultraviolet is outside the human range of sight otherwise.

For three years, I had two cockatiels and two parakeets as pets. They formed a loving family. They are now living in a new home with several other kinds of birds, including a dove, a rooster, and a cockatoo!

I will tell you about them some other time.

Love always, Gamma Debbie

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