Feed the birds…

I went over to Seseragi Park, between my house and the station, and gave the rest of Monta’s already opened birdseeds, dried fruits, and vitamin tablets to the pigeons there.

The fountains have been turned off in the park, and pigeons gather there these days

They started flying in and flocking around the treats…

Here’s a closeup of them enjoying the sudden buffet.

And a farewell to the flock of pigeons as I leave them to enjoy their meal and head back home. You can hear some of them coo-ing…

I still have unopened packages of birdseed and other bird treats at home. I’ll try to find a place to donate them to.

Monta 2010 – 2020

Monta, who came to live with us in 2012 when he was two years old, passed away quietly this morning at almost 10 years of age. Of the three Java Sparrows I have had, he by far lived to be the oldest, exceeding average life expectancy.

He originally came, from a Java Sparrow adoption site, to be a companion for Mon-chan (see the day he arrived: https://lerner.net/meet-monta-kun/). While they never really became a couple, and Mon-chan passed away about three years ago, they at least kept each other company, and flew around and seemed to have fun squabbling.

All three Java Sparrows I owned had very different personalities. Hao was probably the most intelligent and inquisitive. He would come if you called him by name, and enjoyed exploring my desk. Mon was probably the gentlest, but she too would come if you called her. She was also fairly inquisitive. Monta basically never strayed from his cage unless you took him out, but he was the most easy to handle. He never seemed interested in roaming about my desk though. But he liked playing on me, going in my shirt, and hanging out. Both Hao and Mon would sit on my fingers, but only Monta liked being petted and cuddling in the palm of my hand. And he had a beautiful, vibrant Java Sparrow bird song.

The last year Monta had been going downhill. He hasn’t been able to fly for a long time, so I moved his favorite place in the world – his swing – next to his food and water. He also had cataracts and couldn’t see out of his right eye. But up until yesterday he still had an appetite. Yesterday he did seem to noticeably sleep a lot more though.

This morning I found him huddled by his food container, and he didn’t seem to be able to sit on his swing or the perch by the food. I took him over for his morning shower at the kitchen sink (he hasn’t been able to take baths by himself for a while), and while he usually chirps and sometimes even sings a little during his shower, this morning he showed no reaction at all.

Monta this morning just after his shower

I tried coaxing him to react, which can see in this video:

Monta relaxing in my hand

I tried rubbing him and talking to him to get a reaction. At one point at least he seemed to hear me and react a bit:

It was obvious that he was drifting away, so I sang him a lullaby. He didn’t seem to be in pain or distress. Just drifting away…

Monta sleeping on my shirt near the end
The last photo of Monta while he was alive…

We prepared Monta to take him over to the Ekouin, where both Hao and Mon were cremated. It’s worth reading about the history of the temple, which dates back to 1657. The neighborhood is only 5 stops from my station.

Monta being prepared to take over to the Ekouin, with some seeds and dried fruit he likes

Two photo’s showing Monta’s box in the chilled preparation room before cremation, along with some other pets who were brought over today.

The writing shows the owners’ names, the type of pet (a beloved bird), and Monta’s name
Monta seemed to be the smallest pet brought over today

Afterwards we visited the inner temple and offered some incense for Monta. I will pick up his urn on Thursday and put it beside the urns for Hao and Mon.

On the way home from my station, there was a flock of still pigeons just standing there in the park as I walked way. They didn’t scatter or fly away. They just stood there. It was a very eery feeling. Like they were a bird honor guard for Monta.

At home, every time I pass Monta’s cage I can’t help but glance in it to make sure Monta is doing ok. A very lonely feeling. I think Monta will be the last Java Sparrow I own. I will need to find a good place to donate this large cage – which I originally lugged all the way from St. Louis – and bags of unopened bird feed, dried fruits and green vitamin pellets.

Even though I knew Monta was really old for a Java Sparrow – maybe nearing 100 in bird years – I was so used to him being there all the time I miss him. Rest in well-deserved peace, Monta.

Milestone – in the 150s!

My milestones are coming at an agonizingly slow pace these days, but I’m not in a hurry. This morning, after being in the 160s (in lb) for over 6 months I’m finally in the 150s for the first time in my adult life.

This morning’s weight was 72.4 kg = 159.6 lb. That’s a total weight loss of 56.6 kg = 124.8 lb (almost 125 lb!).

Also, my BMI went under 24 for the first time, to 23.9.

This is MyFitnessPal logging streak day 3,072.

As you know from previous posts, I eat whole food plant based, my HbA1c blood sugar came down slowly from a dangerously high level to a completely normal 5.6 and I’ve been off blood sugar meds since last year. My cholesterol is fantastic. Blood pressure is completely normal. Everything’s fine.

Yet, even at this weight, my stomach still sticks out a bit. In the U.S. I might be a size M or L, but in Japan I’m an LL these days. And I still haven’t gotten into a resistance training routine for building upper body muscles, which my doctor recommends. I really need to stop putting that off. I get sufficient cardio with puppy walks every day though.

One day at a time.

Biden’s Town Hall – Engaged, Loaded with Facts, Great!

Here are some running thoughts as I watched Biden’s Town Hall on ABC today…

I’m watching Biden’s Town Hall. I’m not going to pay any attention to Trump’s Town Hall at all. I am really impressed with the first 20 minutes. I’ve never seen Biden at a town hall event before. He comes off as genuinely engaged, and connects with the people who are answering the questions really well. It’s very good so far. No idea what crazy thing Trump is doing on his side, but I’m sure I’ll see snippets of it on the news later.

Second break. I have to admit that I am thoroughly impressed by Biden. He is really animated, engaged, loaded with facts, talks with the people who are asking him questions. He’s a better candidate than I ever thought.

Third break. I have to say he’s really hitting it out of the ballpark.
I’m really glad I decided to set aside time to watch this today.
A half hour left. Time is passing swiftly.
I shudder to imagine what’s happening on the other network.

Wow, fourth break already! He just did a great answer on renewable energy. I can’t imagine it going any better.

Lots of breaks! Fifth one now. He just finished a great piece on foreign policy, answering a conservative Republican’s questions. And then he switched to reply to a woman with two daughters, one who is transgender, and gave a great answer on that as well.

I really feel motivated by this town hall. It’s not just voting against Trump at this point. Biden has completely eliminated any hesitation I had about his age or capability or being “with it” or any of the things that people who are uncomfortable about Biden mention. He is definitely with it. The Democrats have a great candidate this year.

Unbelievably, a sixth break with just three minutes left! I assume George Stephanopoulos just wants to sum up at the end.

I don’t know much about what happened at Trump’s Town Hall, except I saw an alert that Trump refused to disavow QAnon and was skeptical of masks. Sigh.

Anyway, I’m enthusiastic. I believe I will make another campaign donation today!