Archive for April, 2010

The blog has been heavy-handed with somber musings so today I write about the cute, cuddly and feathered. You’ve previously been introduced to our dogs and cats, now meet the critters!

This is Aunt Bea, a senior Cockatiel. When we originally rescued her she was estimated to be in her teens and that had to have been about 5 years ago. We know she’s an old-timer. Her feet are withered and crumpled due to arthritis but she still dances a jig when she gets excited. She has a special needs cage to allow her to get around without too much fuss. When her partner, Andy died last year we were afraid she wouldn’t be far behind, but she’s still kicking. In fact, I pulled an egg from her cage today! She’s a feisty old lady and quite pleasant to have around.

Bunnies have been part of the family for many, many years. We have a nice, safe set up for them but they aren’t the cuddly pets some people may think. They’re prey animals so they don’t appreciate being held like a cat or dog. They think everything is going to eat them. Ours are litterbox trained and love munching on greens. The brown male (neutered, of course) is Hugh. He did have a Hef but she passed away a few years back. He came from the feed store – I tore him from the grasp of a demon child and brought him home. He fit in the palm of my hand. That was over 5 years ago because shortly after the 3 hurricanes hit. After Hef died I felt he needed a friend so home came the other two (also from the feed store.) I don’t condone buying them this way but… the other two are Lionhead bunnies and were a fad for a while. Fads fade quickly and these two weren’t selling. The guys at the feed store gave me a deal and so Hotcross and Sticky came home. They’re sisters.

Dorothy the Dove is a pure love. She was from animal control, taken from a hoarding situation. All the big parrots got adopted quickly but no one wanted the little dove. She’s one of my favorites. She’s gentle and sweet and makes the coolest cooing sounds. She’s also laying eggs, it’s definitely springtime around here.

Felipe is a Roller Pigeon and he’s a failed rehab and release project. I really shouldn’t answer my phone when animal control calls. Oh, he rehabbed fine – just needed some groceries and rest. He was released but he kept coming back. One day he was sound asleep next to the front door so what else could I do? He joined the others on the back porch. I had been told by some “bird folks” it’d be ok to put him in the same cage as Dorothy because they couldn’t breed… well…

… where there’s a will, there’s a way! Meet Eggtooth, son of Dorothy and Felipe. Pretty boy, isn’t he? I hand-raised him after it was evident he was going to be killed by his father if allowed to stay in the nest too long. The star-crossed lovers were separated (much to Dorothy’s delight and Felipe’s dissatisfaction) and Eggers became my favorite helper. That is, until he matured and turned on me. He and his dad are aggressive little buggers! They’d kill one another if given the chance. All live in their own, separate cages and the noises they make are delightful and entertaining.

This stunning beauty is Jezebel, an Orange-Winged Amazon. She must be over 10 years old by now. I was taught to syringe feed her and we formed a tight bond. When she was little she would shower with me and we’d sing “Singing in the Rain”! She’s funny and independent. She only says a handful of phrases but she gets her message across. We were having a cold snap when American Idol began this season so she was living in the tv room for a while instead of the back porch. You should have seen her light up when the contestants would start singing! She also loves to imitate sounds like the microwave and phone.

Nambu is a Bronze-Winged Pionus and is just a bit younger than Jezebel. They’re friends but have their own big cages. She was in a couple homes before we got her. Nambu is much more sensitive and doesn’t like change. You can see where she plucked her feathers out when she had to come in from her big cage for the cold snap. First night in her entire chest was plucked. She doesn’t talk but will come over for a head rub. She loves to get baths and puts on quite a show when it rains. She’s stunning to look at, her coloring is amazing.

Last, but certainly not least, is our Sugar Glider … Pica. What’s a Sugar Glider is our most asked question. She’s a marsupial, which means she’s nocturnal, has a pouch (like a kangaroo) and has  “hands”. Pica lost her mate, Pixel last year but she seems to be managing without him. He was 13 years old when he passed. She’s been with us over 10 years now. Pica came from a school teacher who didn’t have time for her anymore. She’s sitting on my shoulder in this shot, she’s tiny enough to fit in the palm of my hand. They’re really not the right pet for just anyone. They’re fragile and super fast. They have specific diet and caging requirements. Read up before getting one, people.

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I heard a story today about a Teddy Bear Parade. An aunt picked her two nephews up from school and set about creating a float to be in the Teddy Bear Parade. They used an old boot box, some blankets and lots of giggles and glue to put it together. The next day at school the two brothers proudly marched with their teddy bears. When you’re in first grade life is simple and all about Teddy Bear Parades.

(Jim in the Teddy Bear Parade, 1st grade.)

Jim and his brother, Nick, haven’t had it easy growing up. Up until they were pre-teens my sister was raising them alone, but that was a much better option than with their real father. Vickie’s the first to admit she’s not always made the best decisions in her life but her love for her boys is steadfast. Their little trio has an unbreakable bond which comes from living amongst chaos. Unfortunately, love isn’t all you need. Teddy Bear Parades can only fix so much.

(Vickie looking so pretty.)

(Jim & cousin Kelly, big-time love.)

(Little brother Nick & Jim.)

(Jim & Uncle Craig playing air-guitar.)

(Jim & Nick, having a birthday.)


There once was joy in this little boy. He had endless possibilities to a great adult life but he didn’t take them. Or maybe his chaotic life kept him from being able to take them? I don’t know. My only real memories of my nephew are from these joyous times as a child. I’ve lived in a different state all of his life. I’ll remember his joy and potential, which I mourn deeply. I regret not reaching out to him as he began struggling. Many times I thought about sending him songs that helped me. But I never did. I’m so sorry. I know many people did reach out and we still ended up with the same result, a life lost at 21.

(Kelly, Nick, me, Vickie, Jim.)

(Me & Jim in the hot tub.)

(Cousin Lindsey, Jim, me & Kelly in the hot tub.)

(Jim looking forlorn.)

No one aspires to be a drug addict. No one wants to do the things necessary in order to feed your habit. Jim somehow became what he hated most. And that fueled a rage he would allow to consume him. It didn’t have to be this way. When he was a young boy, any sport he tried he excelled. He has trophies from baseball, BMX bikes, wrestling and football. The first time his Grandpa Payne took him to play golf (he was 8 years old) he made a 30 foot putt without so much as a thought. His Grandpa took him to the Masters Tournament and bought him clubs. He was one of the many who tried so hard to save this boy from himself. It broke his heart when Jim, as an adult, asked to move in with them after a stint in a correctional facility. He’d been his only weekly visitor for many months. His Grandpa told him no, he’d shown he could no longer be trusted. That’s what drugs do. Jim was a good person at heart and loved them but when it came to drugs all his morals went out the window. Drugs become your only focus and the only thing that matters. What a lonely world one creates.

(Samurai Jim @ Halloween.)

(Vickie & Jim @ Christmas.)

(Another exciting birthday.)

(Kelly helping Jim w/his cards.)

Jim had many people who loved and would do anything for him. I can only suppose he convinced himself he wasn’t worthy. I believe he wanted to stop and have a normal and good life. He just wasn’t strong enough. He was running away from himself. But addiction was in his genes.

“The same gene or genes are responsible for all forms of addiction. Regardless of your manifestation of the addiction gene, you will have about a 50% probability of passing that on to your children. But remember, genes are not destiny, and what you are passing is the predisposition.”

“Addiction is a biological switch having been thrown in the deep regions of the brain. For the most part emotional disregulation is why people go to drugs in the first place: Difficulty regulating feelings, trying to feel better, seeking solutions to emotional states, and inadvertently throwing that switch.” ~ Dr. Drew Pinskey

Addiction is addiction, no matter what your drug of choice. In my mind, it’s all the same, be it heroin, pills, alcohol or nicotine. If you can’t step away from it, if you can’t function without it, then you have a problem and need help.

Jim was surrounded by bad influences. He wouldn’t take the help offered. The number one reason people get back into drugs is because they go back to their useless druggie friends. To get off the drugs you must do more then stop taking them, you have to break all links with that drug culture. That is where this sweet boy failed.

(Jim & Nick on a rare vacation.)

His mother has been  married to Joe since the boys were around 11. He’s a good man, good to her and loves both her sons like his own. He tried to help Jim, too. They have a young son together, Joey, who idolizes his big brother. It’s difficult for a 10 year old to understand the finality of death, especially when that brother just made him promises. My heart breaks for all of them. I know this, love does heal the wounds it makes. I pray their little family reaches out to those who truly love them.

(A brothers love – Jim, Joey, Nick.)

(Jim 13 years in red in the middle, next to Kelly holding Joey. Grandma’s birthday party.)

(Joey, Jim & Dubbs.)

With the loss of my nephew, I’ve met his fiancee’, Genevieve. I’m thankful he knew her love before leaving us. I know nothing of their story but it doesn’t matter. Her heart is broken along with the rest of us. I pray she finds the strength to make the good life for herself Jim wanted. A friend told me, “I cannot honestly say what the reasons for the journey was to only lose in the end, but I am sure it is not ours to question why, but to believe that there was a reason and a season.”

( Gen & Jim.)

When I got the call about Jim, I began questioning my faith. Life is just too cruel sometimes. I got angry. Then I simply felt sorrow. I wished we could all be back watching the Teddy Bear Parade. I cry for the little boy lost. I cry for his brothers. I cry for my sister and her husband. I cry for all of us. I pray my sweet nephew is now in the arms of the Angels. May you find your comfort there. I can smile as I know he feels all the love and hope and peace he couldn’t find here on Earth. He has his Grandpas with him and they will now watch over us, without judgment or anger, only Heaven’s beautiful light.

(Vickie & Jim. A mother’s love.)

James B. Waller of St. Charles, MO born Nov. 22 1988, passed away on April 6, 2010. Dear son of Joe and Vickie DuBois; beloved fiancée to Genevieve Hewitt; beloved brother of Nick Waller and Joey DuBois; dear grandson to Agnes (the late Bobby) Payne, Mary Ann (the late Harold) DuBois, the late James C. Baize, and the late Jane and Jim Waller, nephew, cousin, and friend.

Gone too soon. We love you Jim.  Always have, always will.

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