Once Upon a Time: The Beginning to My Love for Animals and Nature

One of my favorite phrases is “Once upon a time”.  It’s probably the most ideal phrase to begin any statement in which you need my undivided attention.  Those words are what propelled me to be the person I am today.

The first time I heard those words, “once upon a time”, was not from a Disney film.  I was maybe three or four, and my grandfather would re-enact the tales of Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, and Hansel and Gretel at bedtime.  Poppi had a terrific voice for the Big Bad Wolf.Little-Red-Riding-Hood-Wolf-4

With all the stories of evil predatory creatures of the woods that wanted to devour small children, one would assume that I grew up with an unhealthy fear of the forests.  Instead, I saw the fantastical interaction between fairy tale characters to be intriguing. Continue reading Once Upon a Time: The Beginning to My Love for Animals and Nature

Animal Scavenger Hunt

I’ve been wanting to try this animal scavenger hunt for a workout ever since I attempted to do it with the kids I worked with at the Day Camp.  It wasn’t as successful with the children as I had hoped (until I added water balloons as an incentive), but I thought it might be fun in a group workout.

There are a dozen ways this workout could be run.  Today, I decided to write up “clues” about different animals on our whiteboard, then place the corresponding animal cards throughout the park.  animal scavenger hunt

Continue reading Animal Scavenger Hunt

Winnie Memorial

I can’t remember exactly how old Winnie was when I picked her up from my co-worker’s place.  She was just a scroungy little kitten though. Gorgeous tortoise shell coloration, long hair, and piercing gold eyes. I wasn’t allowed to have cats at the apartment I was then renting, but Winnie wasn’t my cat anyway.  I put her in a crate with a towel, placed her in the front seat of my car, and started the 8 hour car ride back to South Carolina.   Continue reading Winnie Memorial

Letter to Animal Rights

I recognize that debating with the animal rights agenda is incredibly frustrating, for both sides. I often wish I could wave a magic wand and instantly have the anti-zoo folks see things from my point of view, and that I could see things from theirs.

It does seem to me that emotions run rampant in discussions about the validity of having zoos.  I would like to share some of my thoughts on zoos but I would like to try to focus more on the science, if it’s possible.  My emotions often get the better of me, especially in these circumstances, but there is a lot of information out in the universe that can help people come to a much more informed decision. Continue reading Letter to Animal Rights

100 Ways of Fitness Day 25 Part Two

“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”
I’m watching an interesting documentary about conservation while I write this so I hope I don’t get too distracted (oh, that’s ADORABLE!).
I just finished listening to one of my favorite books, a truly inspiring book called “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver.
It’s about the author’s project of living an entire year from food grown or raised themselves or from local sources. They raised chickens and turkeys for eggs and meat and grew, well, just about everything. She made her own cheese and pizza dough from items purchased at farmers markets or her neighboring farms. She even canned and froze her produce so they could survive on the fruits of their labor throughout winter.
It’s inspiring to say the least. She really did her part to reduce her carbon footprint and eat sustainably. She supported local farmers and encouraged others to do their part as well.
However you have to keep in mind that the author did this project knowing full well she was expected to write a book from her experience. So she was a little more than motivated to make it work. In fact, that was her JOB for the year. It’s like an actor saying it’s easy to stay in shape- of course if it’s your JOB!
For the rest of us that live in areas that can’t grow everything we need all year round and work and have tons of other obligations, it’s a little more difficult.
But it did inspire me to look at my habits and make some changes for a better world.
I’ve already started Meatless Mondays, which as I understand, can help save about a million barrels of oil a year or something like that. Which is insane. But Meatless Monday doesn’t guarantee that my food is not traveling a great distance to feed me. Are there other ways Chris and I can inspire folks to eat local, sustainable, and green?
Enter my new challenge idea-
Washington Wednesdays and Farm Fresh Fridays.
Washington Wednesday will be the day out of the week where everything we eat comes from Washington. So as local as we can get. I like the idea of finding new and exciting entrees right in our own backyard, so this seems like it’ll be almost enjoyable. Salmon is almost a given, but I look forward to exploring my vegetable options too and even some special treats (Theo’s chocolate anyone?). The true challenge will lie in ensuring not only in eating clean and local, but healthy as well (did I say Theo’s, I meant Growing Washington CSA).
Farm Fresh Friday- well I don’t think we’ll have an issue with healthy or clean eating but the true challenge is to ensure its FRESH, so again, locally sourced. I feel this will take a bit of detective work to ensure our meat is as sustainable, organic, and local but I’m definitely up for this challenge as well!
I need to do some more preparing, which is fine bc even Ms. Kingsolver took three or four months before starting her project. I hope to be ready to start in late March or early April. Only question is, who’s with me?

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 11: Palm Oil Talk

Today I did our Keeper Chat at the zoo.  I had asked to do this talk because I felt for one of the first times, I had an angle that could hook folks into listening and acting.

Here was my spiel:

Blah blah blah about the elephants.  They receive phenomenal care, they get tons of enrichment.  Yada yada yada.

Continue reading 100 Ways of Fitness Day 11: Palm Oil Talk

Bucket List 2014

2014 Bucket List: Couples Edition

Last week, Chris and I sat down and with calendars on hand, wrote up our list of things we wanted to do this year.  Rather than simply write it down, I figured you’d love to see pictures….

 

Art Museums

Art Institute of ChicagoDSC_0424

 

Bellevue Art Museumfocus

 

Bainbridge Museum of Art00-00-06-67-82-91-6678291_2075482

 

Victoria, BCRoyal_Museum_Front

 

Portland Art MuseumPortland-Art-Museum

 

 

Zoos

Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, ILBrookfieldZoo

Point Defiance, Tacoma, WAPoint Defiance

Oregon Zoo, Portland, OROregon Zoo

Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, ILShedd Beluga Birth

Toledo Zoo, OHtoledo_zoo

Disney Animal Kingdom, Orlando, FLAnimal Kingdom 01

Busch Gardens, Tampa, FLbusch_gardens_lion

Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, FLLowry_Park_Zoo_Sign_in_Tampa

Brevard Zoo, Melbourne, FLbrevard_zoo_1

Central Florida Zoo, Sanford, FLCentral Florida Zoo Entrance

Honolulu Zoo, Honolulu, HIhonolulu-zoo

Sea Life Park, Honolulu, HIsea_life_park_lg

Bikingmountain_biking_couple
Nordic Heritage MuseumNordic-Heritage-Museum-550x348

 

Natural History Museum in Victoria, BCTotems on display in the Royal British Columbia Museum

 

Field Museum, Chicago, ILChicago_Illinois_-_Elephants_-_Field_Museum

 

 

Horseback RidingHorseback-Maui

 

 

KayakingHawaii, Kauai, Na Pali Coast, Couple kayaking along coastline, Beautiful mountain ridges in background. Editorial Use Only.

 

Tillicum Village428-Tillicum-Village-750p

 

RaftingOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

San Juan Islandssanjuan

 

Whale watching22101_19377_Olympic_Peninsula_Whale_Watching_md

Whidbey IslandWhidbey-Island-Beachfront-home-A4

 

SCUBA ExperienceScubadiving

 

Highland GamesPipers-review

 

Camlann-Medieval Villagecamalan

 

North Cascades Institute- Diablo LakeArt Retreat 2009

Mount Saint HelensMSH82_st_helens_spirit_lake_reflection_05-19-82

 

Leavenworth at ChristmasLeavenworth-Washington-at-Christmas1
Like I said- busy year!  But what memories!!

Better Year, Better Me

Better Me for a Better Year

If you know me well, you know 2013 wasn’t my best. The end got a little better, as I joined a gym and started doing better in my fitness. And I started seeing a chiropractor, which has helped my back and knee tremendously. But 2013 is never going down in the history books as a great year. So 2014 is GOING to be better! I have a huge, ambitious list, but honestly? I think it’s doable.

Continue reading Better Year, Better Me