I was raised in Winter Park, Florida, where we lived on a lake. I think it was a Purple gallinule who sparked my interest in wildlife and eventually my love of all animals with the exception of palmetto bugs (big roaches.) Purple gallinules look a little like coots, but are purplish blue, have yellow legs, long toes and a beak the color of candy corn. This one, named Big Foot, came back every summer for five years, padding in and out of our kitchen at will for handouts. After high school and a failed attempt at being a bank teller, I moved to Miami and went to work as a flight attendant for National Airlines. In 1980, Pan American Airways bought that company and I worked for them for another 9 years. About midway through my flying career I came to my senses and realized that if I was ever going to do anything else, I needed an education. At age 33, I enrolled in the University of Miami to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology, specializing in ornithology--the study of birds. It was an accidental encounter with an abandoned dog that launched my 'writing career.' After taking eight years to finish my undergraduate studies, I went to graduate school and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. My goal then became to move someplace where I would never be hot again. I now live on the chilly coast of northern California with my thirty-five year-old parrot and two cats. I share my three-acre, forested space, as graciously as I can, with skunks, possums, raccoons, an occasional black bear and a mountain lion. A single (and I hope it stays that way) Little Brown bat has lived in the rafters of bathroom for the last five years sleeping (thankfully) directly above the sink. I wouldn't want to hurt my parrot's feelings, but I think my favorite pet of all time was an albino Red Rat snake named Rosie. If I could come back as an animal I would like to return as a Turkey vulture. Some one else kills your food for you and the rest of the time you get to ride thermals of warm air with your friends. Being a bird and flying with friends, what more could one ask for?Read more Read less
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