Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gas Usage After Winterization

I went on-line to the gas company's website and got the numbers for my gas meter. Here are the results (so far) of my winterization efforts this past month:

Usage for January 2008: 208.00
33 days = average per day: 6.30

Usage for January 2007: 293.00
35 days = average per day: 8.37

Usage for January 2006: 233.00
34 days = average per day: 6.85

Usage for January 2005: 254.00
35 days = average per day: 7.26

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Confessions of a Killer

I bought my house about 11 years ago as a HUD-Repossession; which, of course, means you get it in “as is” conditions. The first thing I did once I moved in was hire a home inspector to come out and tell me what needed to be fixed and how urgent it was that I do it. Turns out, I actually got a really good deal; the house was in fairly good shape for being 20 years old, and had been well maintained.

One of the items on the list of things to fix to was the exterior paint. Paint is really only good for maybe 5 years, and the inspector told me that my paint looked to be around 10 years old.

It took me a couple more years to save up the money, but finally I was able to afford to have a contractor come and paint my house. Since he was going to be up on ladders all over the house anyway, I told him to go ahead and replace all the rain gutters while he was at it.

The contractor I hired was an innovative sort of fellow who suggested a slight change in plan on the gutters. Instead of coming down the right side of the house and draining off down the driveway into the city’s storm drain system, he suggested that I should have the gutters come down on the left side of the house. He would then bury the gutter under my lawn, using a perforated pipe that runs about 4 feet underground for about 10 feet in length, thereby using the rainwater to hydrate the lawn more effectively.

Well, I just thought that was a super idea! I eagerly agreed to his plan, and within a week I not only had a beautiful “new” house (the new paint job freshened up the place wonderfully) but also a new “green” gutter system!

What I did not realize was that I had just become… an Earthworm Killer.

The first good rain of the season showed me soon enough, though. It had the evidence displayed out in the open, right where the whole neighborhood could see.

When I opened the garage door that morning, a horrific sight greeted my eyes. Hundreds of dead and dying earthworms were all over my driveway! They had been flooded out of the yard and crawled up to the perceived safety of the concrete – only to be killed by the hot, burning sun.

Frantically I ran up and down my driveway, trying to rescue as many as I could. I’m positive my neighbors think I’m that “weird old lady,” the one with too many cats, the one that all the children are afraid of and dare each other to run up and knock on the door, who must surely be senile to be running around crying each morning, frantically picking up earthworms and re-depositing them on the up-hill side of her front lawn.

And wouldn’t you know it – that year was a wet one. I am ashamed to say I killed many an earthworm that summer. I tried so hard not to, even going so far as to park down at the bottom of the hill on the side of the road so that the tires of my car would not add to the death toll.

Heck, I even transported a load of earthworms out to Mother’s farm, in Palmer. Surely they would be much happier out there with the chickens, the horses, and the gardens; and I would feel less guilty knowing that at least some of my precious earthworms had been saved.

Thankfully, after a year or so, the lawn got used to the influx of water and I saw less evidence of my killing ways. Either that or all the earthworms moved on to the relative safety of the next door neighbor’s yard.

Either way, I am proud to say that I have not purposely killed an earthworm in many years. The whole event has scarred me for life, though. Never again will I look at my rain gutters with pride. They will forever be the instrument of my unintentional killing spree that summer.

Monday, January 28, 2008


I found him at a homeless shelter in Seattle. Without traveling to Seattle in person, I contacted the shelter via email to arrange the adoption. The shelter told me they were desperate to find him a home, so all I had to do was pass the home inspection and pay for his ticket up to Alaska. My instincts told me this was the right thing to do, so I basically took him sight-unseen.

The home inspection went extraordinarily well. The lady told me she knew I’d provide the perfect home for him from the moment she walked in the door. The next hour was basically just a formality; she gave tips on what I could do to ensure his comfort and make the transition as smooth as possible, and shared stories of other adoptions that she had facilitated.

When the big day finally arrived, I nervously drove down to the airport to pick him up. The flight attendant handed him off to me, all bundled up against the cold. I quickly got him into my car and took him home. When I showed him to his new room, he immediately ran and hid behind the couch before I got a chance to have a good look at him.

I knew he was frightened. He didn’t know where he was and couldn’t understand why he’d been taken from his home and sent off to God knows where. So, I simply sat down on the floor and talked to him in a soothing voice, introducing myself and assuring him that he was in a safe place. I told him that I’d always wanted a little boy just like him, and that I really hoped he would one day learn to love me – just like I immediately knew I would love him in return.

Eventually, he slowly crept out from behind the couch and came over to sit in my lap. That’s when I discovered two things about him.

The first thing I realized was that this boy is a snuggle-bunny. He absolutely loves to be held, and the tighter the better. I assumed it’s was due to a lack of hugs in his past, and vowed right then to never deny him a hug again.

The second thing I noticed was that he had to be the strangest looking cat I’d ever in my life seen!

Yes, my new little boy is a cat. At least, I think he is.

Mother came over a few days later to meet him. She took one look at him and said “My God – What is that? It looks like E.T.!” So, that’s how he earned his name: the Alien.

After getting to know the Alien over the next few weeks, I came to realize just why the homeless shelter was so desperate to find him a home = I’m sure no one else would have him! Anybody coming in to the shelter would have taken one look at him and run in the opposite direction!

He is old; most people want a cute fuzzy kitten to adopt. He is also extremely over weight, with wrinkles everywhere. On top of which, he’s bald. And orange. And toothless. And have I mentioned the asthma?

Mother is right – he does look like ET.

He also drools, but I didn’t learn that little tid-bit until later. Apparently, that’s a trait that all Devons share as a breed. The happier a Devon gets, the more a Devon drools. Buckets of drool come out of that kid sometimes. It doesn’t help that he has had so many teeth pulled that his tongue sometimes falls out.

I spend a lot of time defending him from the people who come to visit me. “He is NOT ugly! He’s very handsome, in an Alien sort of way. And, well, yes… maybe he does smell funny. I’m not sure what causes that exactly.”

In spite of all the weirdness he embodies – I have to say he is the sweetest cat I have ever had, and I will continue to defend him with the fierceness of any mother protecting her child. In fact, I have even gone so far as to adopt another one of these fascinating creatures: this one is a girl whom I’ve named Thing.

This one even has hair!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Yesterday was a Good Day

I had a lunch meeting with the AIA150 group; we met at The City Diner to discuss a potential project for the rural communities of Alaska. We want to come up with a way to get the architectural population more connected to the rest of the world. Should be interesting, especially if they pick the proposal I like best. There is a little community named Georgetown, located off the Kuskokwim River, that is looking at a very real economic boom coming at them from the gold mine that will be built in their town. They need to have a master plan in place to be able to handle the influx of money & people without loosing their identity as a native people. They don’t even have power right now and soon will be overwhelmed by “progress”.

After work I met up with a couple girls from the Alaska Zoo for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Orso’s. Katie is the Education Director and Heather is the Volunteer Coordinator. It was a great dinner, full of laughs and lots of girl talk.

After that I walked across town to my writing class. I turned in a little piece I wrote a while ago that will be offered out to the class for critique = it will be interesting to see the results. I’m working on another piece now that will be turned in once I get a good feel for what the class expects from me. Maybe I’ll even post it here on my Blog – who knows!

I got home finally around 9:45 or so, but spent about half an hour on the computer getting some thoughts down. The drive home after class seems to be a very productive time for me: I come up with all sorts of story ideas that just have to be written down before I loose them again.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Donating Blood

I gave blood last weekend. I used to give quite regularly, but with all the exotic travel I’ve been doing lately, it just got set aside for a couple years. And since the local blood bank has an office in the mall where I go write letters each Sunday morning, it really should become a regular thing again.

It was a lot easier than I remembered. They have stream-lined the paperwork process now, so it only takes a few minutes rather than the half hour it used to take. I had a few questions concerning all the inoculations I’ve had recently, and a few about some places I’m planning on going to – but other than that, I breezed thru the process with no problems at all.

The actual draw was fast and easy, too. The nurse who “stuck” me was very good at it, and got the vein on the first try. I’ve had some bad experiences in the past that almost convinced me to stop donating, so I was glad to get a good one this time.

I have been making a conscious effort to drink more water, just for the overall health benefits – but that also helps in donating blood as well, since you are depleting your body of liquids. The more hydrated you are, the faster the draw takes. I learned that the hard way: one time, it too what felt like hours just to get a pint of blood out of me and I felt so awful I wished I could die.

It also helps immensely if you eat a good meal beforehand. I always eat lunch at the café while I write my letters, so I was good to go.

Here are a few facts about donating blood:

- By the age of 72, nearly 95% of the population will need blood or a blood product

- Each year more than four million Americans need blood transfusions

- 40,000 blood donors are needed each day throughout the United States

- The Blood Bank of Alaska provides blood to 21 of the 23 hospitals in Alaska

- One blood donation can help up to three hospital patients

- In Alaska fewer than 5% of the eligible donors give blood

- There is no substitute for human blood

- The Blood Bank of Alaska needs 2,200 donations monthly to serve the hospital patients in Alaska

Monday, January 21, 2008

Family Movie Night - Part 2

Our second Family Movie Night was a big hit, just as the first one was. We’re on our second disc of the Planet Earth Series: this time we watched “Caves” “Deserts” and “Ice Worlds”

The first section, Caves, was a really cool one that highlighted the odd creatures to be found under our feet. At one point they were filming this huge 90 foot high pile of bat guano that was literally crawling with millions of cockroaches! Oh, it just made you squirm to watch it.

The second section, Deserts, was particularly interesting to me because they filmed most of it in the Gobi desert which is where I spent my vacation last year! I got to show my family what Ulaanbaatar looks like, and how desolate the place really is. Of course, I wasn’t quite as remote as they were, but it was still very similar.

The third one, Ice Worlds, wasn’t that “new” to us living as we do up here in the arctic. Working at the zoo and dealing with Earthwatch has elevated my awareness of some of the issues at hand out there, so the information they presented was more of an overview for me – but not any less interesting. It’s always a beautiful thing to watch a polar bear in its natural environment.

For food this time we made Chinese Egg Rolls; always a favorite, although a bit labor intensive. Mother had the whole assembly line going, using several people to put together the chopped veggies that Stewart provided while she fried them. Kelly brought some jasmine rice and I brought the sauces to dip them in. Noel brought the fruit plate for desert, added to which I had some store-bought cookies.

I had several people ask why we don’t do this every weekend, but I had originally made the schedule out thinking I should give people time to have a life outside of the family. Who knew that there is no life outside of the family!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Ahpun & Lyutyik!

The Alaska Zoo held its annual birthday party for their polar bears today, and I was there working at the critter table. The weather was cooperative, for once; being a mere 20 degrees rather than the 14 below it was at their last event. That certainly makes my volunteer work easier.

Ahpun and Lyutyik (affectionately known as Louie) had a huge 8’ tall 3-tiered snow-cake built in the center of their exhibit, decorated with colored sugar water and fruit. As always, a few toys were hidden inside the cake = the bears enjoy digging in to find whatever is hidden in there.

When they were let out of their dens, promptly at noon, they knew just what to do. Ahpun zeroed in on the cake decorations, very carefully picking off the apples and oranges first, followed by the frozen fish and washed down with a few carrots - not her favorite treat, but if she didn’t eat them he would have. Oddly enough, she wouldn’t eat the orange peel: she very carefully broke each one open and scraped the pulp out with her lips, leaving the rinds scattered on the ground around her.

Louie, however, had his eye on the big huge box balanced precariously on top. He stood up on his hind legs, showing off his impressive size, and got hold of the box with his teeth and dragged it off and over to a corner, away from Ahpun. There he methodically worked at it until he got it open. Inside was a bit of popcorn, but he ignored that and went right for the brand new 5-gallon bucket! The peanut butter smeared on the inside was a bonus – once that has been licked clean, the bucket itself will provide hours upon hours of fun for both the bears (assuming they share).

Our critter table had an information board with pictures, maps, and a few news articles all illustrating the recent plight of the polar bears, giving tips on how to do your part to try to mitigate the problem. We had a polar bear skull and a piece of hid with the claws attached for the kids to investigate. The zoo’s photographer had donated a couple of his prints that had been turned into puzzles for the children to try to assemble – one cut to an easy format, the other more difficult.

We also had the cutest polar bear hand puppet that was offered as a raffle: $1.00 per ticket or 6 for $5.00. I had the puppet on my hand as I walked around the crowd talking to people. I’m rather proud to say I personally sold about $56 worth of tickets! That more than made up for the cost of the puppet.

Unfortunately I had absentmindedly locked the keys in my car when I arrived for my shift, so I was a bit distracted wondering how I was going to retrieve them. The maintenance guy on duty that day, James, tried to help but my car is firmly resistant to being broken in to so he was not successful. After several attempts I suddenly remembered that I had a spare key at the house, so I got a ride home with one of the other volunteers and finally got my car back.

Friday, January 18, 2008


I met up with some girls in my INCPA (Interpretive Naturalist Certification Program of Alaska) group today; we get together about once a month for some girl-talk. They are both married with children, and I know from my sister’s lives that sometime you just really crave adult conversation. Me: I just like these girls. I sit back and listen to them talk while drinking a nice hot cup of organic chai tea. It’s a very pleasant way to spend a Friday after noon, particularly after a long week at work.

I first ran in to these girls, Lisa and Susanne, while on a Mushroom walk out at the Campbell Creek Science Center, during a particularly good time of year for mushroom hunting. The lady leading the talk knew all about mushrooms, so as we were walking down the trails we’d occasionally scamper off to pick an interesting looking one and bring it back to her. She would then hold it up for the group and talk about its features, telling stories of past encounters with that particular type of mushroom.

I next ran in to Lisa and Susanne at our CEMP orientations (Citizen’s Environmental Monitoring Program). That was two days of 5-hour training sessions each, so we had ample time to get to know one another.

One day shortly after our training, I picked their emails out from the mass-emailing sent by the Anchorage Waterways Council and contacted them both to see if they’d be interested in getting together for tea one afternoon. Thankfully, they both thought that was a great idea, and we’ve been doing it ever since.

The place we meet is a really nice organic coffee shop called The Terra Bella, although I must admit that none of us drink coffee. That’s ok, thought, they have organic teas as well, along with all kinds of organic muffins, brownies, bagels, and the like. The Terra Bella takes part in Anchorage's First Friday Art Shows, so always has something interesting up on the walls. I had to admit I did not care for the art this month: too cold and frightening for my tastes.

Susanne just had her little girl 3 months ago (yes, she was 8 months pregnant while learning to monitor our city’s creeks!), and little Willa Jane is just the cutest little girl ever! I got to hold her today: she was looking around and smiling at every body the whole time.

Nature Writing Workshop

My first writing class was last night; I’m all fired up now to go out and write a bunch of stuff. We’ll see if I can hold on to that feeling for any length of time. Hopefully at least till the end of class, 12 weeks from now.

The class went very well. There were 10 people not including the teacher. At least 4 others will be joining us later; for whatever reason, they were not able to make the first class.

We all sat around a table and talked for a little while, then we did a “free writing” session: he gave us a couple ideas to write about (why I took this class – or – what I want to get out of this class, things like that) and gave us 12 minutes to write whatever came to mind. We then read each piece aloud and talked about them.

Writing at the spur of the moment for 12 minutes about a random subject is a bit harder than you’d expect. For one thing, I was using a pen instead of a computer. Typing what you think is so much easier and faster than writing what you think – my brain thinks so much faster than my hand can make that pen go, you know! I ended up with cramps all night (boo-hoo!). My brain tends to wander, too. He told us to just go wherever your thoughts take you, so my “piece” was all over the map. I tried to keep it somewhatly on track…

After our free-writing session, he handed out some essays written by various authors and told us to go home and critique them, and to write our own pieces to bring to class to be critiqued. The pieces are, as one would expect in a Nature Writing Class, about nature and the outdoors.

One of the authors is a favorite of mine, David Quaman, and is about a favorite subject of mine, to boot: spiders! Black Widow Spiders, to be specific. Those of you who know me know that I have an affinity towards that particular spider, having met more than my fair share down in Arizona when I was in college. I can tell you from experience that to be bit by a Black Widow Spider involves at least 3-4 days in the hospital and leaves you with a “dead spot” that lasts for over 6 months.

As for writing a piece, I’m thinking that I will turn in a piece I wrote last year to see how well it is received. After I get the feedback and get a feel for what the class expects from me, I will be able to come up with new material.

Should be interesting!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

African Footprint

Mother came in to town yesterday. We had a very nice dinner at Little Italy and then went over to the Performing Arts Center for the most incredible show: African Footprint

Boy, was that GREAT! I highly recommend this show - if you have a chance, definitely go see it.

Here's what the papers have to say about it:

The hypnotic heartbeat of the African drum, the soulful saxophone, and the haunting pennywhistle meld Afro- and Euro-centric music and dance – Kwela-jive, traditional gumboot, tap, contemporary ballet, hip-hop pantsula – into an ‘explosive stampede of song and dance’ that tells the vibrant and diverse history of South Africa.

A cast of 30 energetic performers has created a show so exciting and entertaining that critics have dubbed AFRICAN FOOTPRINT “The Riverdance of South Africa ”

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm reading a great book

It’s called “Intelligence in Nature” by Jeremy Narby

I got to see Jeremy speak at my first Bioneers conference a few years ago, and he’s very interesting. I’ve been meaning to read this book ever since but am only just now getting around to it.

It’s kind of like two books in one, actually. He has notes on each chapter in the back – I’ve been reading a chapter, then going to the back and reading all the notes about that chapter. Both sections are extremely interesting and very readable.

Here’s what the internet has to say about his book:

Continuing the journey begun in his acclaimed book The Cosmic Serpent, the noted anthropologist ventures firsthand into both traditional cultures and the most up-to date discoveries of contemporary science to determine nature's secret ways of knowing.

Anthropologist Jeremy Narby has altered how we understand the Shamanic cultures and traditions that have undergone a worldwide revival in recent years. Now, in one of his most extraordinary journeys, Narby travels the globe-from the Amazon Basin to the Far East-to probe what traditional healers and pioneering researchers understand about the intelligence present in all forms of life.

Intelligence in Nature presents overwhelming illustrative evidence that independent intelligence is not unique to humanity alone. Indeed, bacteria, plants, animals, and other forms of nonhuman life display an uncanny penchant for self-deterministic decisions, patterns, and actions.

Narby presents the first in-depth anthropological study of this concept in the West. He not only uncovers a mysterious thread of intelligent behavior within the natural world but also probes the question of what humanity can learn from nature's economy and knowingness in its own search for a saner and more sustainable way of life.

About the Author:

Jeremy Narby, Ph.D., studied history at the University of Canterbury, and received his doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fun Facts About Caterpillars

Worldwide there are probably about 300,000 species of Lepidoptera, of which only an estimated 14,500 – or 5% - are butterflies.

A few caterpillars of the family Pyralidae are aquatic and have gills that let them breath underwater.

Caterpillars have 4,000 muscles - 248 of which are in their head. Humans only have 629 muscles.

The most potent defensive chemical found in any animal is produced by the South American silk moth genus Lonomia. It is an anticoagulant powerful enough to cause a human to hemorrhage to death. This chemical is being investigated for potential medical applications.

Lepidoptera, derived from the Greek works “lepido” for scale and “ptera” for wings, is the second largest order in the class Insecta.

As a rule, most butterflies are diurnal, brightly colored, and have knobs or hooks at the tip of the antennae. Most moths are nocturnal, are typically drab in color, and have thread-like, spindle-like, or comb-like antennae.

A moth pupa (caterpillar) transforms inside a cocoon and a butterfly pupa transforms inside a chrysalis.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Family Movie Night

We had our first Family Movie Night this weekend out at my brother’s house. We showed the first disc in the Planet Earth collection on his big screen TV.

And when I say it’s a big screen TV – I do mean it’s a BIG SCREEN TV. That thing is about 50” long by around 38” tall.

It’s the perfect place to watch Planet Earth, though; spectacular scenery and incredible wildlife shots. We watched 3 sections that night = From Pole to Pole, Mountains, and Fresh Water.

The first one, From Pole to Pole, was so good. Aerial shots of the caribou migration were truly awe-inspiring.

The second one, Mountains, was very cool with shots of the Snow Leopards and a mountain goats with long spiral horns.

The third one, Fresh Water, was also very good. The opening shot takes you over the top of Angel Falls. That got my brother very excited: it’s one of his life goals to base-jump off of those falls, so he had us play that scene over several times.

We had a very good turn-out, amazingly enough. It was a VERY cold day, but I guess that’s the perfect time to have a movie night since you really can’t do anything else. Here’s the official list of attendees: Reed, Heather, Mother, Kelly, Myself, Noel, Hank, Tara, Laurel, Stewart, Julie, Gareth, Laurel, Gleo, Myra, and Pam.

Kelly brought her knitting. Noel brought her embroidery. Tara brought her crochet. Julie brought her beadwork to hand out: she made me a beautiful necklace!

And of course, we had food. You simply cannot have a family gathering without plenty of food! Heather cooked a turkey and we brought all the fixin’s to go with it. Mashed potatoes & gravy, homemade bread rolls & apple jam, lots of veggies and salads, and to top it off we had homemade cinnamon rolls.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Grand Opening

The Grand Opening for the Seal & Otter exhibit at the zoo was yesterday. There were all sorts of activities planned for the day: a ribbon cutting ceremony, a critter table, story time in the Greenhouse, Sketch-n-Safari, and three very large celebratory cakes. I volunteered to work at the critter table.

The biggest problem for the day was the weather. That morning was bitter cold: I’m guessing it was about 4 degrees. Not only is that miserable weather to be working in, but it also tends to cut down on the number of people coming to enjoy the event. I was supposed to have sat out there with my critter table the entire 3 hours, but was just freezing to death so they let me close up early.

But it was so nice to see that exhibit up and running again. We started work on it over two years ago, sending our harbor seal off to the SeaLife center in Seward for the duration. The otters were able to make due in a temporary exhibit off of the wolverine’s habitat.

The new building has all new plumbing & filtration systems, a brand new furnace, and a completely remodeled exhibit area. The seal’s half got doubled in size so they have lots of room to swim around now. The otter’s side was made to look a lot more realistic, and is just perfect for them.

We modified the viewing area up on top so that people can no longer toss coins into the water; that’s why we had to shut the old one down so long ago. The seals ate the coins and so, of course, one died. I’ll never understand why some people seem to have this overwhelming need to toss coins into every body of water they come across.

We still have the underwater viewing down below, as well, but it no longer feels so claustrophobic down there, and might actually be a nice place to go. I always hated that old exhibit.

The animals seemed to be enjoying their new surroundings. Chloe and her son Tongas (he was born over at the SeaLife center and is now 6 months old) were both playing follow the leader thru the rock tunnel and around the exhibit. She seems to have taught her son to do her favorite trick with her: she loves to swim upside-down and he does it too, right behind her!

The otters were sliding down the mountains of snow and gliding into the water, only to jump out and do it all over again. They would occasionally stop and stand up on their hind feet to view the crowds, as if to say “Are you watching?”

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Pizza and Beer

I met up with an old friend of mine for dinner tonight. She and I worked together back in my Pipeline days (meaning we both worked Big Oil on the Alyeska Pipeline together). She is back at it, up in Prudhoe Bay working a 2-and-2 schedule (2 weeks on, 2 weeks off). I had thought it would be just me and her, but she ended up bringing her whole crew with her! When all was said and done, we stuffed 11 people into a table meant to hold maybe 8.

The place we went to, called The Moose’s Tooth (, is known for having the best pizza in town, and the parking lot reflected that reputation. I had to drive around several times before finding a spot just recently vacated. Inside, the wait for our table wasn’t that bad: I barely had time to read a chapter in my book (I always carry my book with me – you never know when you’ll be presented with the opportunity to get some reading in) before they set off our “vibrator” thingy.

The place is also known for their beer: made in-house and famous the world over. For those of you who don’t drink beer (there actually are some who don't) they also make their own Root Beer, Cream Soda, and Ginger Ale. All of which are sold by the glass, by the pitcher, or by the barrel.

With that many people at the table, we ended up ordering 3 large pizzas – and I do mean LARGE – with one small personal-sized one for me (vegetarian). Several people ordered salads and/or appetizers also, and there still wasn’t anything left over.

The big surprise of the night was seeing a particular man walk in. Way, way, way back when – I actually had dated him! Hadn’t seen him in about 14 years; it was a little strange. Couldn’t help but remember the reason why we broke up, if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ringing In The New Year

They say that the way a person spends New Year’s Eve is a precursor to how they will spend the coming year.

If that is true, I will be spending the year alone.


Honestly, it wasn’t all that bad. The office gave us an unexpected half-day off, allowing me to spend a few hours at the zoo. Wintertime usually means I don’t get to go to the zoo that often, what with the shorter hours of daylight and all that, so it was nice to revisit all the animals. I walked around the zoo for several hours talking to the other patrons and having a hot cup of cider.

At home, I curled up on my chair with my Thing, some Copper River Red Salmon my cousin gave me, a glass of White Merlot, and some Law & Order on the television. I was in bed by 10:30, but I did wake up at 12:30 and acknowledged the passing of the old year.

New Year’s Day was an exciting day, but not exactly in a good way. I had planned on getting a start on one of my New Year’s Resolutions – the one that says I’ll work out three times a week – but ended up not going. I had Zoo Camp at noon, so went over early instead, to grab a bite to eat for lunch. I figured I could locate the ongoing camp somewhere on zoo grounds after I ate.

Unfortunately, the camp had been cancelled for that day – and no one bothered to tell anyone!

The three volunteers who had signed up for the afternoon session (me and two others) ended up spending an over hour trying to figure out what was going on: we combed the entire zoo, talked to every zookeeper we came across, and tried to figure out who to call (the Education Director was not answering her phone, the Volunteer Coordinator was rumored to be out of state, and the Education Director’s Assistant was MIA). I have no idea what the three volunteers who signed up for the morning session did.

Finally, somebody got a hold of the Volunteer Coordinator (the rumor was thus proven to be wrong) who eventually located the Education Director’s Assistant and discovered what had happened. I have a feeling “somebody” is going to get a rather stern talking to come the Education Director’s return from vacation!

After all that, I just went back to my chair and the Law & Order marathon on television. I just hope the saying is not true…