I was born in New York City, and there was never a time in my life that I didn’t know I wouldn’t stay. I do truly love New York. It just wasn’t my home. What I didn’t know, at first, was that I wanted to experience pretty close to. . . everywhere in the United States. Perhaps that’s why I have lived in eastern Iowa, northern Utah, Death Valley, San Francisco, southern Louisiana, south-central Kentucky, Los Angeles, southern Nevada, and then southern Arizona.

It was the same for me in relation to employment. I’ve worked as a park ranger, yoga teacher, fiction writer, waitress, trial consultant for civil attorneys, research assistant, college English instructor, animal sanctuary worker (once for domestic animals and once for wild native birds), credit correspondent, lifeguard, tutor, and bookseller. Not to mention all the volunteer work: fill-in DJing for a public radio station, providing care at a cat sanctuary, checking the range on horseback for Saguaro-Juniper (an environmental organization), serving as a reserve law enforcement officer, registering voters, teaching CPR and first aid, leading meditation at a men’s prison, volunteer fire fighting and providing EMT services for the Terrytown (Louisiana) Volunteer Fire Department . . . the list goes on and on.

As is probably obvious, anyone with a background like mine would want to work at the Oasis next! Especially since my last name means “bird” in two different languages. I am new to parrots, but I clearly have a favorite so far: the African Greys. Or whichever bird happens to be in front of me at the moment. How can I not love each and every one of them?