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Posts Tagged ‘zoo’

So here’s the thing.

I’ve been trying to go to as many national parks (or historic sites, as the case may be) this year as possible. I’m excited about my passport stampbook (as I’ve previously posted) and especially since we now live in the half of the country with all of the huge natural areas, I want to see them!

One of the exhibits I’ve always loved at the North Carolina Zoo is their Sonora Desert dome, so when I noticed on my newly-acquired roadmap of Arizona that the interstate went THROUGH it, I couldn’t resist! On the way home from the Casa Grande ruins, we looked it up on our GPS and found a place labeled “Sonoran Desert National Monument.” That sounded promising, so we programmed it to take us there.

And we started driving.

And driving.

Arizona, Sonoran Desert sign

See that? PROOF we were in the RIGHT AREA.

Arizona, Sonoran Desert road

We took a couple of smaller roads, then wound up on a two lane highway going straight across the Sonoran Desert, generally back in the direction of I-8, which we would pick up on the other side after stopping at the monument. The desert was fascinating, with far more plant-life that I expected in a desert, and we drove between two long mountain reaches, watching for wildlife (though we never saw any) and grateful for the full tank of gas and water bottles.

It was interesting, too, that there weren’t many cars. Most of the “scenic” stops were closed for the season, but that didn’t bother us because we planned to stop at the monument.

Arizona, Sonoran Desert wide

At this point I want to note that there are not that many photos from this drive. That’s because I kept expecting to, y’know, GET to something. These photos of cacti?? Actually from BEFORE we got into the national monument area.

After a while, we reached the point where the GPS told us to turn and drive 11 miles to the monument. We slowed down to make the turn…

…and then stopped. We were facing a sandy track that crossed some railroad tracks that ran parallel to the two lane highway. On the near side of them was a VERY large sign that said: “DO NOT ENTER.” Oh, and some WILD COTTON BUSHES.

Arizona, Sonoran Desert wild cotton

I looked again at the GPS. We’d followed the directions correctly. But then I noticed that the 11 mile “drive” was supposed to take over an hour… across sand… And we realized then that the “Monument” was probably the DESERT ITSELF.

THANKS, GPS. We were now in the MIDDLE of the Sonoran Desert. Well, about 11 miles from the middle, as far as I can tell.

Arizona, Sonoran Desert cacti

To be fair, I DID say I wanted to properly SEE the desert, and not just drive past it on the interstate. And boy howdy, I SAW that desert.

We checked our map and discovered we were closer to I-8 if we kept going forward rather than backtracking, so that’s what we did.

I guess some monuments are bigger than others. I’m still bummed I didn’t get a stamp for it, though.

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Baby Panda. That is all.

Okay, so as a reward for (finally) having a functional (and neatly organized) closet again, I got myself up earlyish today and went to the San Diego Zoo during the morning BABY PANDA viewing. I’ll just leave this here…

Baby panda hugs

 

I would say that I could just quit the internet for today… but I really ought to write a blog post about what I did last week. And there are more photos from the zoo for you. I hung out in the Reptile Walk, mostly. Less people, and some awesome lighting. ^_^ But mostly there’s more of this:

Hooray!

 

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Okay, so I know I haven’t updated at ALL and for that I apologize. So here are a few things:

1. My email seems to be okay. You can go back to using my yahoo account if you like, but if it happens again I’ve got a shiny new email address lined up and waiting for transfer.

2. We went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park today. Here are photos.http://lavavolavka.shutterfly.com/4050

2a. The Safari Park was awesome! We didn’t get to see everything even though we were there about six hours. One of the things we DID get to see was the cheetah run– they have a cheetah sprint on a track for 100m. The one we saw did it in 6.01 seconds. Amazing! But the best part was that we got the behind the scenes cheetah tour, too… And got to meet the cheetah after the race! We stood down by the track, got to talk to the trainers, and then got our photos taken with the cheetah. It was very, very cool. I’ll have to post those separately. 

3. San Diego is dry. Have I mentioned that? If not, well… It is. It’s is the driest place I’ve ever been and it will take some getting used to the climate.

4. We got a place to live! It’s a great little condo in a trendy, nice area of town and is within walking distance of Balboa Park and the zoo. Yay! Photos next week when we move into it.

5. I really like how many options there are here in terms of things to do. I doubt I’ll ever be bored, especially living so near so many cafes, shops, museums, etc. 

I think that’s about it for now. I have other photos of the last week, including the ones from the zoo, but I will have to post those later. 

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September rains

Well, I’m sitting in a coffee shop to access wifi and generally realizing that during moves I drink way too much coffee and tea and whatever else I get at coffee shops. Probably not great, but wifi is awfully helpful.

We got places to stay lined up in California (including four nights in Anaheim!!) until the 9th, so that feels pretty good. I’m not worried about this move, other than the usual stuff that goes along with being unsettled. There seems to be a wide variety of housing available, too, which is nice.

This move has (so far, anyway) been a little TOO smooth, if that makes sense. We haven’t had on anything go really wrong or become difficult. I shouldn’t complain (and I’m not, believe me!), but I remember all the stress of coming out to Hawaii in the first place… Of course, the cats were with us then and now they are waiting in limbo for me to come get them in October, so maybe that has a lot to do with it. I don’t have to find pet friendly hotels, or worry about driving them around, or worry about crazy import paperwork and blood samples and all of that this go-round. It’s so… NICE. Ha.

I’m thinking I’ll do the request I received for un-pretty Hawaii photos before we leave. If I have time this week, I’ll take some. In the meantime, I have photos from my last zoo day in one of the sections where I volunteer. Big kittehs!

20120910-163733.jpg

Aren’t they beautiful?

20120910-163748.jpg

It’s nice having a big zoom and access to great views. ^_^

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We went hiking twice this weekend– in the same state park. It’s the Kaena Point part, and there are two entrances. You hike around the western point of the island where there aren’t any roads– just a wide trail. And at the very end is a beach where the monk seals bask and have their pups. ^_^

Here are photos from that.

Two weekends ago was Military Appreciation Day at the zoo, and I have photos from that, too.

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I spent a lot of time downtown this week, especially at the zoo, so most of this weeks’ photos are from that.

This was the Coke display at the grocery store on Monday. I thought it was cool. They do some really clever things with the boxes of soda. It never makes me want to buy any, though, so I’m not sure if it’s entirely successful in terms of marketing.

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I couldn’t think of a clever theme for the 3rd week of April, except that most of my photos were from the zoo, and I ended the week at the beach. This is the tiny chocolate rabbit from my Easter basket that was (almost) too pretty to eat… until Monday the 16th, anyway.

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As this weekend was Earth Day, it was also the opening weekend for the new Disneynature movie, Chimpanzee. And as I have every year, I went with a group from the zoo to go see it.

It’s always interesting to go see an animal movie w/ zoo people because we see things with that perspective. So the comments afterward were along the lines of this:

“At least they didn’t personify the chimps quite as much as in the lion one last year.”
“Why does there have to be an ‘invading force’ and all that, why not just say the other group needs more food to support itself?”
“Why are all of the ‘bad guys’ in these Disney movies named things like Scar? Or Fang?” (My contribution? “I like the name Roscoe…”)
“I wonder how much they edited it in the studio for _______ scene…”

You get the idea.

The footage was beautiful, though. I especially liked the parts where they filmed rain in slow motion as it poured down on mushrooms and leaves, and a part where they showed phosphorescent fungi. This is what I really like about these type of movies– the high definition, gorgeous footage of the wildlife and of places I’ll probably never see in my lifetime.

So yeah. I liked it overall.

Last thing for tonight and then I’m going to bed (I’ve been up since 4:30, which is a whole other matter). A friend sent me this:

..___
/…….>—(
=-=—=
=-=—=
|.|.|.|.|.>—-C
|●…●…●\
|●…●….●\
|●….●….●\
————————

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Life Lessons from the Zoo

I realized today that I have learned several important Life Lessons from my time spent at various zoo and animal-related places. Here are some of them.

  • Easy humor is not the same as smart humor and usually not clever or original. Put some thought into it. (Just today I got the oh-so-clever line, “And what kind of wild animal are you?” Thanks, funny guy. Because I haven’t heard that in, oh, two days.)
  • People all think they know what’s best, and will tell you so at any opportunity, especially when they don’t understand the reasoning behind the thing they’re being asked to do.
  • “Having fun at work” means all sorts of different things. I think I’m the type of person who views “high productivity” as more fun that “sitting around” and that’s good to know.
  • “High productivity” doesn’t equate to overwhelming paperwork. Being outside and having a lot to do is better than being inside and having a lot to do.
  • If it doesn’t have a tail, it’s not a monkey, even if it has a monkey kind of shape. This is true for other things; calling something a name doesn’t make it the thing you are calling it.
  • Every day there is the same exact mess to deal with, and the work will never be done, but that doesn’t make the work less worthwhile.
  • Things are not always what they seem; a bucket might indicate it’s “feeding time” but it might also contain tools, paint, fill-dirt, or yes, even poop. Don’t assume, just ask.
  • Tourists always wear bad shoes, whether it’s hiking in high heels or the chunky sandals that are unnecessary for paved, flat sidewalks.
  • Act like you are supposed to be there and chances are no one will question you.
  • Make eye contact and smile and people will tell you their life stories– they want someone to listen, even if you’re trying really hard to get your chores done.
  • Weeds always grow back, unless you take them out at the root. Find the root and chances are you can fix the problem once and for all.
  • Admitting when you don’t know how to do something isn’t a weakness; it’s a chance to learn how to do something new.
  • Using the tools you’re given correctly makes all the difference in the world; no matter how many times you swing a pick-ax, if you don’t hold it the right way it won’t make a dent.
  • You have to wade through (and shovel out) a lot of crap in order to earn the reward in the end, but it’s worth it. It is absolutely worth it.

 

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This week has been one in which I accomplished a lot and worked very hard on several projects. My photos are mostly of things related to them, with a handful of other randomness.

Monday I cleaned the bedroom and started getting things together to make a deployment shadowbox and scrapbook for J. He collected some patches, so I had them spread out on the bed… and Caspian decided they were his.

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